The biopic, which is currently in development, will star Hansberry’s grandniece, Taye, as the late author and playwright. Jaleel White, who is best known for his role as Steve Urkel in Family Matters, will play author James Baldwin.
Numa Perrier, who previously penned the script for series The Couple and appeared in “The Call” episode of ABG, will direct the film.
Production for the as-of-yet untitled biopic is set to begin in early fall.
Lorraine Hansberry was the first black playwright, as well as the youngest American, to win a New York Critics’ Circle Award. She is best known for her play A Raising in the Sun, which gets its title from a line in the Langston Hughes poem “A Dream Deferred.”
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Rae is set to make her network television debut as the writer and co-producer of Shonda Rhimes’ upcoming ABC comedy series, I Hate L.A. Dudes. The series and comedy drama The Mix are a departure for Rhimes, who has previously created three medical dramas – Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and the short-lived Off the Map — and a political thriller Scandal.
I Hate L.A. Dudes follows a female journalist who is forced to adjust to the dating scene in Los Angeles. The Mix revolves around the lives of five women who host a popular morning talk show.
Rae isn’t the only actress to portray Nina Simone this year. Star Trek: Into Darkness star Zoe Saldana will be portraying the singer and civil rights activist in an upcoming biopic. Saldana has come under fire for her casting, and Simone’s daughter, Simone, has expressed that she wished someone else had been cast. Although she hasn’t backed the film, Simone’s picks to play her mother were Kimberly Elise, Viola Davis, or an unknown actress.